January 27, 2015

Trends and Highlights at Heimtextil 2015

Attracting no less than 2,759 exhibitors, Germany’s massive 2015 Heimtextil fair earlier this month offered a glimpse of the latest in residential fabrics and contract textiles for hospitality. Manufacturers from around the globe—but especially India, Turkey and China—converged in Germany this winter to nearly fill the city’s labyrinthine Messe Frankfurt convention center.

The show was a place to meet global suppliers with innovative products—and to discover brand names unfamiliar in the U.S. market. Say you wanted to invest in an enormous digital printer for your textiles factory. A visit to the fair’s trend hall presented you with the latest hardware from all of the major tech companies. And gone are the days when computer-generated prints were only possible on sleazy synthetics. Now, patterns can be digitally printed on everything from luxury fibers to the lowliest of quilting cottons. Computers have revolutionized old-fashioned tapestry weaves and embroidery, which are now available in custom patterns manufactured at impressive scale.

A standout was Mumbai-based G.M. Syntex. Alongside a full range of the company’s traditional fabrics were a surprising number of chic experimental patterns and textures highlighting embroidery and digital printing. Embroideries were vibrantly colored and boldly geometric, sometimes featuring fringed elements. A mid-century chair’s glazed silk upholstery was abstract, digitally printed without an obvious repeat. The result was patinated and mysterious, appearing nearly hand-painted.

Style trends included florals as well as African designs, which had an earthy, modern look in shades of brown sparked with unexpected colorful accents. Exquisite woven linens and trims were shown by Belgian manufacturer Deltracon. Technical standouts included chic geometrics and animal prints on flowing cork fabrics that Portuguese manufacturer Sedacor was marketing as renewable Ecoleather. The cork veneer had been bonded to a woven backing that promised durability and sustainability.

Also notable among the finished goods were chunky woven acrylic throws from Alpha Corporation. And, finally, 20-inch toss pillows covered in butterflies, from the British wallcoverings manufacturer Graham & Brown, part of a new line of cotton cushions featuring motifs derived from nature.

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